For so many of us, a hot and steaming brew is an irreplaceable part of the morning routine.
However, for some, the acidity of coffee means they can’t enjoy their morning cup without experiencing stomach problems – so here’s our list of the best low acid coffee.
Check out this video guide to low acid coffee for a preview.
Best Low Acid Coffee Buying Guide
What is “acid” in coffee?
Before we look at the options for low acid coffees, let’s have a look at where the acidity in coffee comes from.
First, we need to make a distinction between “acid” and “acidity” since they are not the same thing. “Acid” refers to a pH level of anything below a seven (seven being pH-neutral and anything above seven being an alkaline) whereas “acidity” refers to a quality of the flavor of a food or drink.
Coffee is naturally mildly acidic, with a pH of around five – this is less acidic than other drinks like beer and orange juice.
However, when we talk about the acidity of coffee, we normally mean the taste of the drink. Indeed, in many coffees, acidity is a desirable quality that adds to the overall complexity of the brew. Coffees lacking in acidity may taste flat and uninteresting.
One of the main groups of acids in green coffee is chlorogenic acid, an important component of the flavors we find in the brewed drink. However, during the roasting process, chlorogenic acids are converted to quinic acids.
These are the acids that can cause an unpleasant reaction in those with a sensitive stomach. Dark roasts are higher in quinic acids, and these acids can also develop when brewed coffee is left to stew. Low-acid or acid-free coffees are usually coffees that are low in these unwelcome quinic acids.
Where does acidity in coffee come from?
If we are talking about acidity, there are many factors that can affect this quality in a coffee (1). One of the most important is the altitude at which the coffee is grown. Coffees grown at higher altitudes take longer to ripen and usually display a higher acidity than low-grown coffees.
This means you can buy low-acidity coffees simply by choosing varieties that are grown at lower altitudes. Brazilian coffees tend to be low-grown and are known for their lower acidity.
Another factor is the soil in which they are grown. Coffees grown in rich volcanic soils tend to have a higher acidity.
The processing method can change the final acidity, too. Wet-processed coffees generally have a higher acidity than coffees processed using the dry method. Again, many Brazilian coffees are dry-processed, adding to the perception of a lower acidity.
Finally, as mentioned above, the roast can have an effect on the flavor. Lighter roasts tend to have more chlorogenic acids, adding to the flavor, while darker roasts are higher in quinic acids, making them more bitter and sometimes “harder” to drink.
How can you choose low acid coffee?
As you can see, there are different ways the acidity in coffee can be reduced. Some coffees are simply low in acid due to growing conditions and processing.
If you want a low-acid coffee but don’t necessarily need your coffee to be completely acid-free, you can choose one of these. We mentioned that Brazilian coffees are often characterized by a low acidity (2); other coffee origins known for low acidity include Mexico and Sumatra.
Check out this interesting short video from Starbucks about the women coffee growers of Sumatra.
Some companies also process their coffees in such a way as to deliberately reduce the acidity of their product. This could involve treating the coffee chemically to raise the pH level to neutral; others, including one mentioned below in our review, manage to do this naturally.
In fact, we only managed to find one brand of coffee that is completely natural and 100% acid-free – check the review below to see for yourselves.
Another option is to drink low acid coffee alternatives. Of course, if coffee reacts badly with your stomach and causes heartburn or other problems, you probably already prefer other hot beverages like hot chocolate, tea or herbal infusions.
These also have the advantage of having naturally less caffeine – or zero caffeine content – meaning you can consume them at any time of the day or night.
However, if you want to drink coffee, or at least something very similar, a cup of hot chocolate probably isn’t going to do it for you – so you might wish to try out some other options.
One very popular zero-acid replacement for coffee is chicory. Chicory can be brewed like a coffee and has a similar flavor, making it a suitable alternative.
In fact, chicory is the ingredient used in New Orleans-style coffee, and when added to regular coffee, it actually reduces the acidity of the beverage
Chicory is also sold mixed with other herbs to be brewed on its own as a substitute for coffee. It is naturally acid-free and caffeine-free, and when combined with other ingredients, can make a delicious and extremely nutritious hot beverage.
If you are looking for something similar to coffee but without the acid and caffeine, chicory could be an excellent choice.
The best low-acid or acid-free coffee brands of 2020
Here, we look at some of the best acid-free coffee brands. As we mentioned, we only found one brand that makes completely acid-free coffee, but we have also included some other options.
Below you will find acid-free coffees, low-acid coffees and coffee alternatives – this means that whatever your preferences and dietary requirements, you should be able to find something suitable for you.
1. Tylers Acid-Free Organic Coffee (Our Top Recommended)
Tylers claims to make the world’s “first and only acid-free coffee”, so if you want real coffee that is 100% acid-free (as opposed to a substitute or a low-acidity coffee), you have only one choice.
The coffee comes from high-quality AAA arabica beans from Chiapas in Mexico. They are treated with a special All-Naturalz-Roasting process that leaves them completely acid-free.
No artificial caffeine or anything else is added to the beans, making them completely natural – they have been certified organic by the USDA.
2. Tylers Acid-Free Organic Coffee – Decaffeinated Ground
If you want acid-free coffee that is also decaffeinated, this Decaffeinated Ground from Tylers could be one of the top picks.
Just like the caffeinated variety, they are subjected to the All-Naturalz-Roasting process that leaves them acid-free.
Before this, they are decaffeinated using the 100%-natural Swiss Water Method, which leaves them around 99.8% caffeine-free (all “decaf” coffees retain traces of caffeine).
As with other products from this company, this coffee is certified organic by the USDA. A great pick for anyone who wants 100% acid-free coffee that is also decaf.
3. Java Planet – Colombian USDA Organic Coffee Beans
These coffee beans are low-acidity, not acid-free – but if you can accept a little of coffee’s natural acidity, they could be a good pick.
Java Planet is a family owned company and their products are chemical-free, pesticide-free, GMO-free and USDA-certified organic. They are high-quality arabica beans sourced from Colombia and are certified Fair Trade.
They are also grown on bird-friendly plantations that encourage biodiversity.
The tasting notes describe a medium-dark roast coffee with a full body, a mild acidity and a balanced flavor, a delicious brew for those who can’t drink highly-acidic coffees.
4. Teeccino Maca Chocolate Organic Chicory Herbal Coffee Alternative
If you can’t stomach the acidity or caffeine of regular coffee, you might consider trying a coffee alternative.
This chicory herbal drink has a coffee-like taste but contains no coffee; instead, it includes herbal ingredients like chicory root, ramon seeds, carob and organic barley.
This coffee alternative can be brewed like regular coffee in any coffee brewer or espresso maker.
It is low-calorie, low-carb, vegan-friendly, non-GMO, soy-free, dairy-free and kosher. It is a good source of potassium and contains inulin to aid digestion.
It provides a natural energy boost through nutrients rather than caffeine.
5. Worldwide Botanicals, French Chicory Root (Coffee Substitute)
This is another chicory-based acid-free, caffeine-free coffee alternative. This product is gluten-free and high in inulin, a fiber that encourages essential probiotics to flourish in the gut.
You can brew this coffee substitute using any normal coffee brewing method including an espresso maker – it can also be added to regular coffee to naturally lower the acidity.
This drink is a perfect option for someone who wants to enjoy a hot beverage similar to coffee at any time of the day without disrupting their sleep or causing themselves stomach problems associated with high-acidity coffees.
Several options for low acid coffee
As you can see from our reviews, if you can’t stomach regular coffee with high acidity, you have several options. One company has managed to perfect completely acid-free coffee while many others produce low-acid coffee. Another option is an acid-free coffee alternative.
We’ve enjoyed researching these acid-free and low-acid products for you and we hope it will help you choose coffees or coffee alternatives that are suitable for your tastes and dietary requirements.
Do you drink low-acid coffee or acid-free coffee? Or perhaps you enjoy nutritional coffee alternatives? Do you drink chicory? Or maybe something else? If you have anything to add, please leave us a comment – we love hearing from you. And if you enjoyed reading, please give us a share!